Japan

Japan

Mitsubishi has been out of the luxury sedan market for what seems like ages, but in reality it’s just about a decade. Thanks to the Japanese automaker’s relationship with Nissan , Mitsu is diving back into the luxury sedan market, as it will use the Infiniti M35hL LWB to make a luxury sedan of its own.

According to reports, the exterior of the Mitsubishi variant of the M35hL LWB will remain very similar to the Infiniti model it is based upon. The key differences between the Infiniti model and the Mitsubishi model will be the elimination of the Infiniti waterfall grille, swapping out the front bumper for a slightly revised one and replacing the Infiniti badges for Mitsubishi ones, of course.

Being based on the M35hL LWB, this new Mitsubishi Dignity will boast the same hybrid 3.5-liter V-6 drivetrain that the Infiniti has, which boasts an impressive 359 horsepower, but a slightly disappointing 199 pound-feet of torque. The base price tag of ¥8,400,000 ($105,500) is also quite the deterrent, but 30-plus mpg on the highway is definitely a draw.

In addition, if you are in the U.S. and want to snag up this upcoming model, you can pretty much forget about it. Mitsubishi Mitsubishi is only offering this model in Japan. We would suspect that if this model performs well in the Japanese market, Mitsubishi would certainly release it in the U.S.

For now, the details on the Dignity are still a little scarce, so this is all we have to pass on for now. As more information becomes available we will pass it on.

Toyota Prius

We do our best to keep you in the loop when it comes to new and cool developments in the automotive world. One of the hottest topics going right now in the U.S. is automated driving. Though it is still several decades away from being a national reality, although some states are legalizing autonomous cars, we are still seeing some progress. The leader in this technology to date in the U.S. is the Google Prius, but other automakers - such as Cadillac and Ford - sniffing around the automated car sector.

In Japan, however, they are taking the bull by the horns and setting up an outline for national implementation of an autonomous driving system. According to a report from Tech-On, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) is starting to piece together how to make automated driving a reality in as little as eight years.

Starting immediately, the MLIT will start piecing together the problems related to automated driving and neatly package it in an interim report that is due for release in March of 2013. Some of the issues at hand have to include: driver attentiveness, driver override ability, handling of accidents, and infrastructure development.

The MLIT has already employed the help of Toyota , Nissan , Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (A.K.A. Subaru ), Honda , and Mazda in this project. Heading up the entire team is Yasuo Asakura, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

For now, this is all just talk and we will see if anything ever comes of it. If this is actually a serious deal, it could drastically accelerate the timeframe that we in the industry have set for automated cars. We will keep a close eye on this situation and update you if any new details come up. Until then, enjoy your steering wheel, while you still can.

Source: Tech-On

In June 2012, China received a special Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Gold Edition specifically for its region, and now it’s time for Lamborghini to show some love for Japan with its own special Gallardo . Called the Gallardo LP560-4 Bianco Rosso, the model was built to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Lamborghini imports.

The new Gallardo LP560-4 Bianco Rosso features a combination of red and white paint finishes as a tribute to the Japanese flag. The car is painted in white, combined with red insertions on the rear engine hood, side mirrors, and brake calipers. The interior was specially designed in the Lamborghini Design Center and combines a black theme with red leather.

In terms of power source, nothing was changed. The Gallardo LP560-4 still carries a 5.2 liter V10 engine that delivers a total of 552 HP at 8,000 rpm and a peak torque of 398 lb-ft available at 6,500 rpm.

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Bianco Rosso will be limited to only 10 units, so if you are from Japan and want one, you better hurry up!

The BMW 1-Series M Coupe isn’t just a popular car in Europe or America; it’s got quite a following over in Asia too. So much so, in fact, that noted Japanese tuner Studie Ag has given the little M sports a car a new tuning program that gives it a little M3 GTS flavor.

Besides, it’s already difficult to own an M3 GTS anyway considering that BMW only built 150 of them. However, if you’re long on despair and short on hope, Studie Ag has the answer for you.

The new styling kit for the 1-Series M Coupe features plenty of new components, including a custom-built vented hood, a matte black GTS rear wing, a matte black diffuser, and an Akrapovic exhaust with carbon fiber tips. In addition, Studie AG also dressed up the 1-Series M Coupe with a Fire Orange paint finish while a new set of gloss black wheels add a nice complement to the car’s overall look.

No performance modifications were given to the program, but even in its standard guise, the 1-Series M Coupe is still capable of flexing its 340 horsepower output from its twin-turbocharged, all-aluminum, 3.0-liter inline-6 engine.

While Mercedes was busy unveiling the new SLS AMG GT - the replacement for the current SLS AMG - to the rest of us, the Japanese market was receiving a very cool SLS AMG Matte Special Edition to toy around with. In fact, this is the second special edition for Japan that we have announced this week, next to the C63 AMG Performance Studio Edition . Much love for the Land of the Rising Sun, Mercedes?

The new SLS AMG Matte Edition will be offered in both black and white paint finishes for both the coupe and roadster models. The Matte Black Edition is combined with a very cool red trim, including the red three-pointed star on the grille, the fender gills, the "6.3" badge, the fuel door, and the wheels. The interior also features the same red and black color scheme.

The Matte White Edition follows the same setup, except the red accents found on the Matte Black model are black on the Matte White model. The black tires are highlighted by a clean white pinstripe and the interior is elegantly done in a white and black motif. Carbon-ceramic brakes are available on both models as an option, but no engine modifications were performed on either model.

The Matte Black Edition is priced at €303,500 and the Matte White Edition is priced at $366,400 for the coupe and $379,000 for the roadster.

The Mercedes C63 AMG is arguably one of the most popular models in the Mercedes AMG line-up. But that isn’t stopping the German automaker to treating its Japanese customer base with a special edition model called the C63 AMG Performance Studio Edition.

Comprised of a comprehensive modification that includes work done on the outside, inside, and engine, the C63 AMG Performance Studio Edition is turning out to become quite a prize for the Japanese folks. It also figures that with all the special edition BMW M3 ’s out on the market, Mercedes would love to join in on the party with this bad boy, right?

The first thing you’ll notice is the matte black finish given to the car, which is never a bad thing as far as we’re concerned. Mercedes also added a carbon trunk lid spoiler, unique exhaust tailpipes, a new set of 19" multi-spoke black alloy wheels with a red rim, and red brake calipers. Inside, the modifications continue with an interior that’s been dressed in red and black nappa leather with matching red accent stitching. In addition, there’s also a carbon fiber decorative trim, hand-crafted AMG floor mats with nappa leather piping, AMG door lock pins, and a standard Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system.

As far as the engine goes, Mercedes gave the C63 AMG’s 6.2-liter V8 engine with a nice power upgrade, resulting in an increased output of 480 horsepower, up from the standard model’s 451-horsepower output.

The car, like we said, is exclusive to the Japanese market. Pricing has been announced at 15 million Yen, which is about $192,000 based on current exchange rates. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in November 2012.

Alfa Romeo Spider

Last week, we reported that Fiat was open to allowing Mazda to use U.S.-based Chrysler factories to manufacture U.S.-bound Mazda models. Before that, Fiat and Mazda officially announced a partnership in building the MX5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spider . These two announcements brought about a lot of speculation of Fiat taking the same approach that Ford did, by buying into the struggling, but slowly recovering, Mazda.

After hearing plenty of these rumors, Fiat Chairman, John Elkann, had enough and announced at a shareholder meeting that Fiat is not interested in acquiring any percentage of Mazda Mazda in the future. Fiat does plan on adding a Japanese partner in the future to help expand its global reach, but there is no mention of what companies Fiat is considering.

We would not be surprised to find out that this is simply a rouge to not tip its hand too early. It only makes sense for the two to partner up in a larger sense, as Mazda needs some help getting over the recovery hump and Fiat needs a Japanese partner. It would be a win-win situation, so we’ll see if Fiat’s tune changes after testing out Mazda’s abilities with the Mazda Miata-Alfa Romeo Spider production deal.

Fiat is planning a little bit of expansion soon though. In July 2012, Fiat is planning to expand its ownership in Chrysler by an additional 3 percent, bringing its total ownership to over 60 percent. Over the course of time, Fiat plans to jump its overall Chrysler ownership to 100 percent, giving it complete control over the recovering automaker’s operations and profit.

It definitely looks like Fiat is on the right track here so far. We will keep you updated as its expansion continues.

Japanese tuner, DuelL AG, has become synonymous with building some of the most awe-inspiring tuning programs on that side of the world. Their latest work on the MINI Coupe only adds to their already sterling reputation.

Using the MINI Coupe John Cooper Works Edition for the build, DuelL AG built a sick-looking aerodynamic kit for the German MINI that comes with a bevy of modded parts, including a louvered hood that has been set on both sides, just above the fenders. In addition, the components also include an aggressive new front bumper with fully integrated LED lights, redesigned side skirts, and a new rear diffuser.

DuelL AG opted to keep the MINI Coupe JCW’s performance numbers untouched, which means that you can expect the car’s 1.6 liter four-cylinder petrol engine to produce an impressive 208 horsepower.

For a car that looks as aesthetically endearing as the MINI Coupe JCW, DuelL Ag did a masterful job in giving the German vehicle some serious attitude. Dare we even say that this program is one of the best-looking aftermarket projects done on the MINI Coupe.

Ford Mustang GT

Since its inception midway through the 1964 model year, the “original” pony car, the Ford Mustang , has remained an America-only model. The last Ford overseas we recall seeing was the four-cylinder 1967 ‘Stang from Tokyo Drift , and we almost cried at the sight of that monstrosity of ricer meets muscle. There are now rumors floating around – mostly sparked by our friends at Popular Hot Rodding – that the Mustang is heading overseas.

We are all well aware of the fact that the Mustang is being redesigned for the 2015 model year. Apparently, a part of the releasing of the Mustang in Europe is that this redesign is turning the beloved Mustang into a car that meets the European Union pedestrian safety regulations. According to Popular Hot Rodding, this means that a redesign rivaling the Mustang II may be afoot, which is being dubbed the “Mustang III.”

This is a scary moment for Ford and it really needs to tread carefully, as the Mustang II nearly killed off the Mustang name altogether. It was to a point that the Ford Probe – yeah, remember that thing – was slated to be the replacement for the Mustang. Fortunately, the Mustang pulled through and is now thriving as a muscle car again.

This Euro-inspired redesign comes on the heels of the U.S. government possibly raising the average fuel economy requirements to an astronomical 56.2 mpg by 2025. This doesn’t mean that the Mustang needs to hit 56 mpg, but that the average of all Ford vehicles sold must be at least 56.2 mpg by 2025. This also puts the V-8 Mustangs that Ford has worked so hard on lately on the chopping block during this redesign.

Could this mean the return of a turbocharged four-cylinder to the Mustang lineup, or maybe even a transplantation of the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 engine from the Taurus to the Mustang? It very well could, and that could spell disaster for the Mustang. Ford definitely needs to tread carefully with this redesign, or we could end up with the Mustang II all over again.

After being unveiled last year, both theSubaru BRZ and the Toyota GT-86 have now officially started production at Subaru’s Gunma factory in Ota-city, Japan. The two rear-wheel drive coupe models were developed as a result of an agreement that started in October 2005. Both models are powered by the same 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed boxer engine that deliver a total of 200 HP and 151 lb-ft torque.

At the same plant, Subaru will produce the new Impreza starting in March 2013.

FHI President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga commented: "This car symbolizes our corporate strategy in two significant aspects: good progress in our alliance and advancement of our ‘select and focus’ approach. The start of production today made a huge step for us, but it is not our end goal. By constantly refining both models, FHI and TMC hope to nourish each model to be loved by customers all over the world for a long time to come."

TMC President Akio Toyoda said: "The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 could not have been successfully developed without collaboration between FHI and TMC. We started the alliance for mutual growth in 2005. Now I’m delighted to see that our alliance bore fruit."


Back to top